Samoa 2021 CRPFM

Executive Summary

Samoa’s Climate Change Policies Focus on Mitigation

The CRPFMR assesses the responsiveness of Samoa’s PFM systems in supporting national CC policies identified in an inception questionnaire (Annex 1).

Samoa’s ratification of the UNFCC and Paris Agreement is complemented by: i) preparation of a NAPA; ii) submission of NDCs focused primarily on generating 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025; and iii) a NAMA outlining reduced transport sector emissions by increasing the national and public electric vehicle fleet.  Long and medium-term climate change strategies are reflected in the various sector medium-term strategic plans prepared by the government, the SDS, NESP, PSIP, and the recently completed SCCP.

Meeting Adaptation Objectives

Adaptation objectives are to be met through improving the climate resilience of transport infrastructure, water supply, forests, coastal areas, water catchments and public buildings through activities identified in CIM Plans at village and district level. 

Small Country Considerations

Adaption to the impacts of a changing climate and the decarbonization of the economy pose significant challenges for all countries. Planning and implementing climate action, using information, regulation, taxation, and public expenditure to guide and support households, businesses and local authorities will require a systematic whole-of-government approach which encompasses the PFM cycle including climate-informed macroeconomic analysis and planning, revenue, public investment, procurement, and expenditure management.

In small countries, the scale of government operations is an important consideration when considering making commitments towards undertaking additional processes and/or investing in new additional systems. Ultimately these need to be sustainable and focus on providing greater utility overall to the country than the costs they impose on government.   Mainstreaming CC activities will need to consider these issues in the entities such as MoF and MNRE who are responsible for the coordination and overall policy direction, the SAO, the Legislative Assembly  who are responsibilities around scrutiny and the relevant line ministries responsible for implementation of climate change activities.

Responsibility for Implementation

Samoa, like other Pacific Island Nations places the responsibility for major areas such as energy, water, and transport infrastructure rests with public corporations or EBUs. They are responsible for implementing a large proportion of climate resilience and renewable energy activities with resourcing (currently grants) from development partners flowing through national government. Development, coordination, and implementation of CC policy is managed primarily through MoF which has responsibility for overall coordination of the climate resilience investment program and ensuring financing is available.  MNRE is the technical agency for climate change and DRM issues.

A History of PFM Reforms

Historically there has been a high level of country ownership around improving PFM performance, which has been an ongoing process of continually improvement.  Samoa has worked hard to ensure it can keep up with the evolving PFM environment and the greater requirements that arise.  But, like many small countries, capacity and capability are fragile with a small body of people doing the required work.  MOF has the lead role in PFM with inland and customs revenues is the responsibility of MOR.

Aggregate Fiscal Discipline

Aggregate fiscal discipline requires effective control of the total budget and management of fiscal risks.  The NESP accurately reflects the NDC targets and guides the development of specific activities and projects. Most investment activities are aimed at resiliency and have been costed, appraised, and selected for inclusion in the budget for eventual implementation.  Implementation is managed and monitored through the various sectoral plans and the PSIP process managed by MoF.  A single point of coordination through MoF has complemented the overall guidance from the NDC, the SDS and NESP, enabling accurate identification of funding gaps.  Samoa’s development partners have been able to fund identified and appraised activities where required. 

There has been no follow up on the 2012 CPEIR exercise to identify and monitor programmatic and operational CC related expenditure. It is difficult to ascertain to what degree CC related expenditure contributes or detracts from fiscal discipline, an exercise using the 2012 methodology for the last three fiscal years suggest that CC related programmatic and operational expenditure is not detracting from fiscal discipline.

Whilst the 2020/21 fiscal strategy mentions general macro-economic risks, it does not specifically mention any CC related contingent liabilities. Management of these liabilities is made easier by Samoa’s ability to access contingent financing through the ADB and World Bank as part of general budget support.  Samoa has also taken up sovereign risk insurance for natural disasters which are climate induced, e.g. cyclones through PCRIC.

There have been no reviews of tax policy to ascertain whether there are changes that could be made to tax and customs policies to assist in mitigation or resiliency efforts.

Strategic Allocation of Resources

The robust planning process has established a framework to provide government with the ability to strategically allocate resources in the budget, providing the Legislative Assembly with a good position from which to verify and scrutinize the intentions and ultimately implementation of government spending and activities.   These actions also contribute towards improving the efficiency of service delivery.

However, the inability to identify clearly what is climate related expenditure and track it has led to a situation whereby the government is unable to monitor whether resources are being allocated adequately for climate related activities.  Monitoring is strictly restricted only to those outputs where CC is specifically identified and included in development and aligned with SDS.

The budget circular does not specify what actions entities should take in developing their budgets and articulating their needs around CC, and there has been no effort to identify how effectively the tax system could be used to improve climate related outcomes for Samoa.

Whilst CC projects and activities are appropriately appraised and selected an overall prioritization process is lacking. CC projects and activities are funded on technical agency, financing opportunities and development partner priorities.   A significant amount of the activities and projects around CC related activities are undertaken by entities outside of BCG, most notably the EPC and LTA.

Efficient Service Delivery

Service delivery efficiency has benefited from robust controls in the expenditure and payment process, and the availability of performance information in plans and reports.  Procurement is generally strong and allows for a more responsive approach during emergencies, particularly climate induced ones.   However, it does not adopt other aspects of a more climate focused process, such as the inclusion of climate related aspects in its standard bidding documents. The procurement for design and works of infrastructure is supported through some development partners is required to include climate resilience design.


Opportunities present themselves around PFM reforms to improve the strategic allocation of resources, this would include:

  • reviewing revenue to examine if possibilities for revenue climate related resilience measures could be adopted;
  • improving public investment practices to incorporate CC resilience characteristics into the overall appraisal, selection and prioritization activities; [1]
  • undertake changes to the budget circular to begin mainstreaming climate related expenditure into ministry and agency budget submissions; and
  • examine the approach towards tracking climate related expenditure from budget to execution for all operational, programmatic and investment expenditure. [2]